Toxicological effects of ethanol on human health

Crit Rev Toxicol. 1995;25(4):347-67. doi: 10.3109/10408449509021614.


Moderate ethanol consumption reduces stress and increases feelings of happiness and well-being, and may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Heavy consumption of alcohol, however, may cause addiction and increases all types of injury and trauma. Environmental and genetic factors are involved in susceptibility to alcoholism. Ethanol can lead to malnutrition, and can exert a direct toxicological effect due to its interference with hepatic metabolism and immunological functions. A causal effect has been observed between alcohol and various cancers. Cessation of alcohol consumption and balanced nutrition are recommended primary nonspecific therapeutic measures for alcoholics. Drug therapies for alcoholics suffering from liver injury has resulted in mixed results. In end-stage liver disease, liver transplantation may be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Humans


  • Ethanol